By Lt. j.g. Joseph Johannes
VP-45 Public Affairs Officer
The "Pelicans" of VP-45 finished up their weeklong "Safe for Flight" (SFF) inspection Feb. 27 - officially completing their transition to the Navy's new maritime patrol aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon.
In doing so, VP-45 becomes the Navy's third operational P-8A squadron, following in the footsteps of VP-16 and VP-5.
Before they could officially complete their transition to becoming an active duty squadron again, the Pelicans had to run the gauntlet of Safe for Flight, a grueling weeklong inspection by Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing-11. The inspectors checked everything from emergency drills to NATOPS jackets to make sure that VP-45 was up to fleet standards and could perform these drills safely, if a real world need ever arose.
"It was a challenging experience," said VP-45 Aviation Safety Officer Lt. Donnell Exum, "But it is one that we were more than happy to undertake."
The drills, which were meant to simulate incidents such as an aircraft mishap, both on the ground and in the air, pushed the maintainers of VP-45 to their limits. But in the end, the Pelicans came through with flying colors.
"Our many months of hard work paid off as VP- 45 accepted, met and conquered the challenges set forth by the CPRW-11 SFF inspection," remarked AMC Mario Caligiuri.
The Pelicans success impressed everyone involved.
"After six months in the school house at VP-30 learning the P-8A inside and out, I am proud of the Pelicans," said VP-45 Executive Officer Cmdr. T.J. Grady.
"They went above and beyond my expectations during this major transition - ending with the SFF."
With their transition complete, the VP-45 Pelicans are now preparing for their next deployment to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. While they know that the future will be challenging, the Pelicans look forward to putting the skills they have learned during their transition to the real world test that their upcoming deployment will bring.